HTML5 : A Brief History


HTML5 is a markup language that was founded in 2004 by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) whose members include Apple, Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Software. Then in Oct 2006 W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) decided to stop their work on XHTML and start collaborating with "WHATWG" to develop HTML as a technology. After that, the first version of HTML5 was published in 2008 and was written by Ian Hickson, Google, [email protected]. But it's not completed and changes are remaining because according to WHATWG experts "HTML5 is a continually evolving technology that will never end". After the first draft of HTML5, it's time to make compatible browsers that support HTML5 features. Then Mozilla took the first step and introduced 'Firefox 3' which allows users to view HTML5 in the browser, but Safari, Google Chrome, and IE were far behind in support of HTML5 features in their browsers. HTML5 was gaining popularity day by day. Then in April 2010, Steve Jobs declared that flash will never be allowed on Apple's smart devices. He said that "Flash was designed for PCs using a mouse, not for touch screens using fingers". This statement is enough to change the mind of many companies and that's the reason they began the development of HTML5.

Changes then began in the web world, Scribd, which is an online document-sharing site eliminated Flash and rebuilt its site in HTML5. It helped them to create a better and more effective UI for their users reading documents on tablets. But it was just the beginning, in Aug 2010 Arcade Fire made an HTML5-based interactive film called "The Wilderness Downtown' that won the Grand Prix award at the Cannes advertising awards in the Cyber Category. After 3 months in Dec 2010, Google introduced "Chrome Web Store" that was in HTML5 where a user can easily buy non-Apple web apps on tablets.

In March 2011, big news revealed that "Disney buys HTML5 gaming start-up". Rocket Pack was an HTML5-based gaming engine start-up. They wanted to break the app store proprietorship so they could build HTML5-based games directly on the web. Then in July 2011, Pandora began to make an HTML5-based audio player. And that's a much better audio player than Flash player, it is easier to load and faster too. In Aug 2011, Amazon created a new web-based version app for Kindle eBook readers. It allows users to access offline content directly from their browser. In Aug, Twitter launched its new HTML5 version app for iPad. In Sept. 2011, according to Alexa HTML5 was used by 34% of the top 100 trafficked websites. HTML5 become more popular on the web and that's the main reason Adobe stopped making Flash for mobile devices. In April 2012, Flicker included a new HTML5 uploader. HTML5 is a big boom in the market and according to research by Strategy Analytics, there are over one billion HTML5-compatible smartphones that will be sold this year.

Differences among the WHAT WG, HTML WG, and W3

  • WHAT WG: The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) is a growing community that was founded by the Mozilla Foundation, Opera Software, and Apple in 2004. It was formed after a W3C workshop when all members got hyped up by the W3C direction with XHTML. According to them, HTML is what the real world needs. So these organizations set their mission where the existing HTML was extended and the WHAT WG was born.
  • HTML WG: When W3C finally accepted that XHTML 2.0 was not the future they decided to work with the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) on the development of HTML5. They introduced the HTML WG for this.
  • W3C: The World Wide Web Consortium is a community that develops web standards.

HTML5 features

There are many interesting features in HTML5 like.

  • HTML5 <!DOCTYPE>: In HTML5 there is only one declaration <!DOCTYPE> That is much simpler than the previous version.
  • Now the <canvas> element can be used for 2D drawing.
  • HTML5 supports Local and Web storage.
  • HTML5 has two new media playback elements <video> and <audio>.
  • Now in HTML5, there are the following new content-specific elements.
    • <header>
    • <article>
    • <nav>
    • <section>
    • <footer>
  • HTML5 has new form controls like Date, URL, Search, Calendar, and Time.
  • Error handling: HTML5-based browsers will be flexible in handling incorrect syntax.

Browser support

HTML5 is still in development, that's the reason no browser has full HTML5 support. But it doesn't mean that browsers are not compatible because all major browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer 9+) support HTML5 and they are continually adding new features to HTML5 in their latest versions. You can also check a browser's compatibility through